The Chicago O’Hare International Airport has a total of four operational passenger terminals. Terminals 1 to 3 handle domestic traffic, along with some international departures; while Terminal 5 handles all international arrivals and departures not covered by Terminals 1 to 3. Terminal 4 is currently re-appropriated as the shuttle bus depot and it does not handle any domestic or international traffic. Its name as Terminal 4 is being kept for the airport’s potential expansion in the future.
The Chicago O’Hare International Airport has a total of 182 aircraft gates operating in four terminals (1, 2, 3, 5) and nine concourses (B, C, E, F, G, H, K, L, M).
O’Hare’s Terminal 1 has 51 gates on two concourses: Concourse B with 22 gates; and Concourse C with 29 gates. Terminal 1 is dominated by United Airlines and its alliance partners.
Interestingly, Terminal 1’s Concourse C is unique because it is actually an island. Passengers can access Concourse C from other areas of Terminal 1 via a walkway under the tarmac. People are treated to a neon light show while riding on moving walkways.
With its corporate offices located in downtown Chicago, United Airlines has a significant presence at O’Hare. It also runs a post-security shuttle service between Concourse C’s Gate C-9 and Concourses E and F’s Gate E-2A.
United Airlines operates four Red Carpet Clubs at O’Hare with three found in Terminal 1. There are two clubs found in Concourse B and one in Concourse C. There is also a United First International Lounge and a United Arrivals Suite found in Concourse C.
Terminal 2 has 30 gates located on two concourses: Concourse E with 16 gates; and Concourse F with 14 gates. There used to be a Concourse D with 11 gates at Terminal 2; however, it was removed to make new room for the new Terminal 1.
As of 2009, Delta Air Lines, previously located at Terminal 3, moved to Terminal 2 after the merger between the company and Northwest Airlines. Although Continental Airlines already moved from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 upon moving from SkyTeam to Star Alliance, Continental still maintains its check-in counters and baggage claim areas at Terminal 2.
Delta Air Lines has a SkyClub located at Concourse E. United Airlines also runs one Red Carpet Club in Terminal 2, which is located near gate F3.
Terminal 3 has 80 gates located on four concourses: Concourse G with 26 gates; Concourse H with 21 gates; Concourse K with 22 gates; and Concourse L with 11 gates. Terminal 3 is mainly a hub to American Airlines and its partners.
Concourse L was mainly constructed for Delta Air Lines, which was then known as the “Delta Flight Center.” When Northwest Airlines merged with Delta Air Lines in 2009, Delta moved to Terminal 2. Terminal 3’s Delta SkyClub also closed after the transfer. Concourse L is the smallest concourse in Terminal 3.
There were some international departures that used to operate in Concourse L until the completion of Terminal 5 in 1993.
Terminal 4 (defunct)
From 1984 to 1993, Terminal 4 was O’Hare’s interim international terminal where international passengers would check in, then they would be taken directly to their aircraft by bus. When Terminal 5 opened, Terminal 4 became the airport’s facility for Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses, hotel shuttles, and other ground transportation services.
O’Hare intends to reopen Terminal 4 in the future as the airport develops more terminals.
Terminal 5 has 21 gates located on one concourse: Concourse M. This terminal is O’Hare’s primary international terminal handling all international arrivals (excluding flights from destinations with U.S. border pre-clearance).
Airlines Operating in the Terminals
While this list may change without prior notice, as a general guide, the following airlines operate in the listed terminals at O’Hare (as of 2010):
Terminal 1: Nippon and Lufthansa (departures only), Ted, United Airlines (domestic arrivals and departures and international departures), and United Express.
Terminal 2: Air Canada, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, United Express, and US Airways.
Terminal 3: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines (domestic and international departures), American Eagle, Iberia Airlines (departures only), and Spirit Airlines.
Terminal 5: Aer Lingus, Air France, Air India, Air Jamaica, Alitalia, All Nippon, American Airlines (international arrivals only), Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Cayman Airways, Iberia Airlines (arrivals only), Japan Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa (arrivals only), Mexicana Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, TACA Airlines, Turkish Airlines, USA3000 Airlines, United Airlines (international arrivals only), and Virgin Atlantic Airways.
Two main cargo areas at O’Hare provide warehouse, build-up/tear-down, and aircraft parking facilities. The Southwest Cargo Area is adjacent to Irving Park Road, partially lying in the path of one of the new runways (10C/28C). It accommodates more than 80 percent of the airport’s all-cargo flights, which are divided among 9 buildings in two tiers. The North Cargo Area is adjacent to the northern portion of Bessie Coleman Drive. With a modest conversion from being a former military base (the 1943 Douglas plant area), it now receives some air freighters. There are also two satellite cargo areas with warehouse and build-up/tear down facilities, but aircrafts don’t park within the area. Freight is generally trucked to/from aircraft via other ramps. The South Cargo Area is located along Mannheim Road. The East Cargo Area is adjacent to Terminal 5 and is formerly the airport’s only cargo section. Now, it has mainly evolved into an airport support zone.
“Airport Maps,” Chicago Department of Aviation.
“Trains from Chicago O’Hare and Midway Airports,” Chicago Transit Authority.
“O’Hare International Airport,” Wikipedia.
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